Janelle's Blog

Take it to the Bank

In the afterglow of Christmas and New Year’s lights, the reality hits us. How much did we spend? The friendly clerks had perfect gifts pre-packaged and wrapped so we would not have to figure out what to give Aunt Sally or Cousin Bob. We handed out gifts like we were personal Santas until we were left holding the empty bag.

Erma Bombeck’s Take on Finances

Erma Bombeck says she bought in haste and repented in leisure. In fact, since she knew her checkbook wouldn’t balance in her lifetime, her husband suggested she find a new bank. So, she looked for one that was forgiving of little human frailties like 7s that looked like 2s and the checks on which she filled in the “For” line with, “the love of God, don’t cash until after the 15th.

Living on the Financial Edge

You may feel as desperate as Erma Bombeck, but take a deep breath. You have 11 months until next December to work it out.

At midnight on December 31st, daredevil Robbie Madison performed a record-breaking motorcycle jump in Las Vegas. He beat the world record of Evel Knievel by clearing 322 feet, 7 ½ inches, the equivalence of jumping a six-story building and the length of a football field.

In an interview immediately following the jump, he was asked what he had to say about it. His response was, “I think I’ll jump it again, right now.”

We do that with our finances frequently. We get ourselves in a hole and instead of getting out of it, we keep digging. Financial instability can breed more financial instability if we try to live on the edge of our finances…more house, more cars, more entertainment.

The Edge of Responsibility

Illnesses such as breast cancer can throw your finances into a whirlwind and leave you grasping for financial stability. It may be time to take a look at your spending habits. It’s not so much that you should forbid yourself from having things. You have to put a plan into place to work your finances so you don’t have to live on the financial edge, but rather the edge of responsibility.

The best way to understand where you are in your finances is to lay it out on paper, matching your income with your spending necessities and your spending desires.

Dave Ramsey says that 49% of Americans could cover less than one month’s expenses if they lost their income. One of the biggest favors we can do ourselves going into the New Year is to live within our means. You will be surprised at how you can still have some things you want to buy if you set up sections of your monthly income with different categories of spending.

I knew an airline pilot and his wife who looked at their finances and realized they lived in too expensive a home to have any money left over to go out to eat or give to charity. They sold their home, moved into something more reasonable, and later told me they felt they were set free from prison.

The Edge of Reason

Let’s go into 2008 with a clear evaluation of our finances. Financial experts I have studied all agree we should set up a financial plan of spending and debt reduction, get rid of our dependency on our credit cards, and start an emergency fund for our finances. That means becoming your own financial analyst by consulting your financial plan frequently, budgeting monthly appropriations of funds for different categories of spending.

In 2008, guide your own financial future. Take yourself all the way to 2009 with good financial health.

Thought for Today

If you aren’t really careful, “The Good Enough” can become the enemy of “The Best”. – Dave Ramsey

Live Life,

Janelle

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